MUMBAI : Against the backdrop of a multi-crore rupee fraud at Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank Ltd, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his government has begun a clean-up of deep rooted corruption and more measures will follow.
“This is just the beginning of a clean up, the process is only going to speed up,” Modi told an election rally in Mumbai. He added that people who have been responsible for ruining the banking system by indulging in corruption are in jail.
Modi said investors across the world were interested in investing in Mumbai. Describing Mumbai as the “city of opportunities”, he said Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has provided a stable government in the state.
The Fadnavis government focused on the city’s growth unlike the previous “corrupt” Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) governments, he said, adding that the stalled projects, such as trans-harbour link, the Navi Mumbai airport and metro construction, all picked up under the current regime.
Trans-harbour link road was conceptualized in 2004 and it was soon forgotten, but we brought it back to life in 2016,” said Modi.
He also said that while the previous government imposed angel or startup tax, the current government was instrumental in removing it.
“The role of job creators is very important in removing poverty,” Modi said. “We respect all the people who are creating jobs. Earlier, under the licence raj, the job creators were being trampled upon. We are putting out red carpet for job creators,” he added.
He said under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the corporate tax regime has become globally competitive. The honest taxpayers will never be harassed, he promised. “Previous governments were not interested in Mumbai’s development or its infrastructure, but only in ministry cabinets,” he said.
Modi said the previous governments in Maharashtra have only helped the corrupt. “In the past five years the central government and the state government both have not been embroiled in instances of corruption or scams,” he said.
Modi said the government is working on cutting red tape and is moving regulatory clearances online. He also said that under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime, projects such as trans-harbour line, metro construction and the Navi Mumbai airport, have picked up. “We are working for the poor… and making them capable of fighting poverty,” he added.
On abrogation of Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Modi accused the opposition of using language that is not helping the country. “Instead of standing with the country they are using such language. Who are they trying to help, who are they trying to vouch for?”
Modi also made a reference to the current investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a case involving senior NCP leader Praful Patel. Patel was quizzed by the investigative agency on Friday in Mumbai in connection with his company’s land deal, allegedly with the late drug lord Iqbal Memon (Mirchi). “There were some people who used to do ‘Mirchi’ (chilli) business and started doing business with ‘Mirchi’,” Modi said. The ED is probing a money laundering case against Mirchi and others who had allegedly helped Mirchi in selling off his properties in Mumbai’s Worli area. These properties were allegedly bought with the proceeds of crime.